Sunday, October 31, 2010


Halloween is always such an interesting evening. I know that you cannot hear the actual irony in that statement, but trust me it is dripping from every word. I loved it as a child and had fun with it when my kids were young. Then I went through a time when I felt that its origins were too dark for my faith and broke my children’s hearts by not letting them go out. They were older anyway, so I compromised and let them dress up and pass out the candy.
The bribe was that they could keep any of the candy that was left over. They were thrilled; (more irony, in case it alluded you). Plus, they turned into Scrooge McDuck. If they could have given out actual individual candy molecules they would have.
When our youngest one got old enough, Bill came and asked me as a personal favor to him to let our little guy go out. Little man looked so freaking cute in his Proto-Clown outfit from Pre-School that I folded like a cheap tent. My older children are bitter to this day…..
Well I told you all of that to tell you this.
My resolve continued to stay the consistency of Jello in the matter and so we just give out candy every year, as long as I can give out a Halloween riddle/joke tract with it. I am the queen of compromise! The problem is that every year we only have a smattering of trick-or-treaters. Last year I think there were only two. Of course we always have the prerequisite giant trick-or-treaters that come late. They are big, with deep bass voices and in need of shaves. They just randomly smear stuff on their faces to count as costumes and they shove big California-King sized pillow cases at you. Their voices sound like a cross between Darth Vader and Barry White as they demand what they know you will eagerly give. The unspoken threat of egg-goo and TP lingers heavily in the air, along with their after-shave.
Well, this year I somehow lost my mind….I completely forgot that we barely have any children show up. There have been lots of new kids in the neighborhood, so I was hopeful that they were not all at a parent/school sponsored “safe” party…You know how those can screw things up! We had Nestlé’s Crunches and Tootsie Rolls and the tracts all ready.
I don’t know why but something came over me. I decided I needed a ‘costume’. But, I didn’t want to be uncomfortable, so I used my best “lounging” dress ( I refuse to call it a house dress!); red paisley, and I ratted my hair high and wide! I used tons of wax and spray until a force-5 hurricane would have had no effect. I painted my stubby nails black and put on lots of dark trashy make up. I coaxed out my cheek bones. They tend to hide under the padding, but through the magic of make-up, waaa-laaa, there they were! I Put on dangly red ruby earrings and tucked a bright silver headband in my hair to make it stand up even better! And I painted my lips as ruby red as I could get them with the lipstick I have. I was stunning. I was Mrs. Roper on crack! (If you are too young to get the Mrs. Roper reference…..too bad!) I waited…no kids.
So, I made grilled cheese. It was yummy, but I had also eaten off all of my lipstick and forgot to reapply it. Hubby stayed up with me for a while. (After allowing himself one laugh, he held his tongue, he is a strong man) I even watched the live ‘Ghost Hunters’ Special. It was like watching paint dry. Hubby went to bed and youngest son, now 20, was in and out, alternately watching stuff in his room. He offered very little help at all when children actually did come, causing the dogs to believe they were protecting us from the Nazis.
I had a princess come… adorable, and a little fireman who was so realistic, I almost asked him to check the wiring. Then a couple of non-descript, generic little kids who rivaled Charlie brown in their plainness. And of course the big giant, pillow-case wielding, aftershave (possibly patchouli) drenched goobers.
 Well, as they say, “The evening wore on” and I became bitter that no one noticed MY costume! Then I realized the bright red lipstick had tragically been eaten off. Maybe with the raccoon eyes and wild hair, I just looked really ill. I did notice the couple of mothers who came with their children edging carefully out of the gate. But, they had nice big smiles plastered on their faces. Oh, I don’t know, maybe the kids were just too hopped-up on sugar to notice.
So I trailed around here and did my stretches. I had a leg flipped up over the chair arm, and was stretching towards it when the little fireman and his mom came. They left quickly….
I channel surfed and came upon a Discovery Health Channel show that looked kind of interesting. It was called “100 orgasms a day” Apparently these women are tragically afflicted with a medical condition that causes this. I was curious from a scientific stand point, and it was the Health channel after all, but I passed for several reasons because; A.) I feared the wrath of God. B.) My youngest son kept wandering in and out and C.) I have a glass pane in my front door. All I could picture was some poor child peeking in and seeing me sitting there looking like Beetle Juice, watching this informative yet inappropriate show. It could have put the kid into therapy forever.
 To be fair, it seemed like they were just going to talk about it all in a very scientific way and show nothing unseemly, but I just couldn’t take the chance. PLUS, you have to ask yourself; would I watch this with Jesus sitting here??? Obviously the answer is in the question.  And speaking of questions; I had a few things I really wondered about on that show too. Like what if the affliction should come upon them in, say, the DMV?  Oh well it is all for the best. Ignorance is bliss you know.
So I finally just turned off the porch light and went and scrubbed the wax out of my hair and all the make-up off and I informed my family that this is totally IT!!! THE last time. Lights out--curtains pulled. And something in the DVD player with happy bunnies and squirrels that don’t even hint at orgasms. This was the most EPIC HALLOWEEN FAIL EVER!!!!

Tonya Willman ©2010

Titanic's Amazing Preacher

This is an excerpt from The Berean Call newsletter. I am fascinated by all things that have to do with the Titanic. But, I had never heard this story about this amazing man of God. If you know Jesus; as you read this ask Him where you can talk to somebody about Him today. Hopefully it wont be under such dire circumstances, but it is important for us to care this much for each person we meet.
If you do not know Jesus please remember that He is right there waiting for you. If you don't know Him and you want to know more about how to come to Him and why you need to, please email me:
TBC Extra
Unlikely Hero

by Paul Wilkinson

John Harper [a Baptist pastor from Glasgow, Scotland] had...spent three months ministering at Moody Church in Chicago, during which time the church had experienced "one of the most wonderful revivals in its history." He had not been back in Britain long, however, when he was asked to return and continue his ministry. Harper quickly made arrangements for himself and his six-year-old daughter, Nana, to travel back to America on board the Lusitania but decided to delay their departure for one week so that they could sail on a new ship which was about to make its maiden voyage-the Titanic.

The Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 pm on April 14, 1912. As the call was issued for passengers to vacate their cabins, Harper wrapped his daughter in a blanket, told her that she would see him again one day, and passed her to one of the crewmen. After watching her safely board one of the lifeboats, he removed his life-jacket and gave it to one of the other passengers. One survivor distinctly remembered hearing him shout, "Women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats!" Harper then ran along the decks pleading with people to turn to Christ, and, with the ship sinking, he called upon the Titanic's orchestra to play, "Nearer, My God, to Thee." Gathering people around him on deck, he then knelt down, and "with holy joy in his face," raised his arms in prayer. As the ship began to lurch, he jumped into the icy waters and swam frantically to all he could reach, beseeching them to turn to the Lord Jesus and be saved. Finally, as hypothermia set in, John Harper sank beneath the waters and passed into the Lord's presence. He was 39.

Four years later, a young Scotsman by the name of Aguilla Webb stood up in a meeting in Hamilton, Canada, and gave the following testimony:

I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a spar that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper of Glasgow, also on a piece of the wreck, near me. "Man," he said, "are you saved?" "No," I said, "I am not." He replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." The waves bore him away; but, strange to say, brought him back a little later, and he said, "Are you saved now?" "No," I said, "I cannot honestly say that I am." He said again, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," and shortly after, he went down; and there, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed. I am John Harper's last convert.

In a tribute to Harper, which was published in 1912 under the heading, "The Three Themes of a Hero," William Andrew of Glasgow noted that the three themes of John Harper's preaching had been "the Cross of Christ, God's marvelous grace to man, and the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

1. George Harper, "My Brother As I Knew Him," in Moody Adams, The Titanic's Last Hero (Belfast: Ambassador, 1998), 55, cited in Wilkinson, "You Shall Be My Witnesses."

2. See, for example, "A True Story from the Titanic," http:www.corkfpc.com/14.html, cited in Wilkinson.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fact, Faith, Feelings...

     I learned this saying a long time ago; “Fact, Faith, Feelings.” And it means, as many of you probably know, that Christians must not go by feelings alone. We must also be careful where we put our trust and faith. Fact, Faith, Feelings means that first; I know what the facts of the Bible are. I study “To show myself approved.” If I know God’s word, if I know what it really says about His character and my salvation and how He relates to me; then I will be far less likely to be tripped up by the enemy.
     Once I understand who He really is I can confidently put my faith in Him. NOT faith in self or others, or even faith in my own faith for that matter, but faith in Him. People will let me down. And I can easily deceive my own self, especially if I go by my feelings alone. I know that my feelings are fickle and they often change moment to moment. And, of course, faith in my own faith is like a five year-old wishing on a star and believing with all of their heart that their wish will be granted.
     True faith is a beauteous thing. The Bible says we cannot please God without it. Waiting quietly on the Lord is a good thing when bad things happen or when things do not happen like we feel they should, because this is usually when fear threatens to overtake us.
     Mark 6:50 speaks of Jesus walking on the stormy water out to the boat where His disciples were. They were afraid and cried out, supposing they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus just said to them; “Be of good cheer. It is I, be not afraid.”  He is saying to them, “Hey…It’s ME!!! Don’t be afraid! In fact, I’ll climb into the boat with you in the middle of this storm. I’ll take care of it, I’ll calm it.” And He always does.
     Fear, dread and worry are NOT from God. In fact worry and faith cannot co-exist. Have you ever seen a peaceful worrier? When Jesus and His disciples traveled to his own home-town the Bible says the people didn’t receive Him and He could not do many miracles because the people had no faith! God can do anything, any time He chooses but He limits Himself. He chooses to work through our faith for everything in our lives. Including; salvation, sanctification, healings, victories and deliverance from the enemy.
     When we read the Gospels and watch Jesus healing people, over and over we hear Him say; “Your faith has made you whole.” NOT faith in our faith, but simple faith in Him. This is the way He chooses to shine. This is how He releases His power to us. He is bigger, mightier and stronger than any problem, person, thing or obstacle in our lives.
     When we finally know that-- when we trust Him-- that is when He moves on our behalf. When we stand and believe and praise that is when He unleashes His power like a mighty flood. Always, always and forever what the Devil means for evil-- God means for good. Romans 8:28 tells us that God always has a good plan for us.
     Times get hard, they do. Things happen that we cannot possibly understand. We ask “Why?” and we fall on our faces and weep. The truth is that we live in a sinful fallen world. We live in a world where everyone has freedom of choice, even the bad people. We live in a world where Satan does everything he can to influence the world towards ugliness and sin and destruction.
      But In all this, God’s word says, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. This is what the early Church was told as they were being martyred and fleeing the wrath of the Caesars. How? How can we be more than conquerors in situations like that? Jesus. He is our King. He holds us up. He walks through the fire and the waters with us. He makes a way for us. He delivers us when it seems like there should be no possible way of delivery. And if He chooses that this is the day we suffer for His name sake or if this is the day that He is bringing us home to Himself; then His mightiness shows even clearer and purer and higher because, and I guarantee you, when that happens it is like a seed being planted in the ground. He will raise up a hundred more believers because of it. He will cause those who will not even speak His name unless it is to curse Him, to fall on their knees before Him. Lives will change.
      Yes, the world fell with Adam & Eve’s choice. But God never stopped working on our behalf. He just rolled up His sleeves and worked all the harder, because He loves us that much. Read the Revelation. Oh you think you have seen some intense movies. You think you have read some thrillers!!! There is a war for the souls of men, and it will be fought to the final moment. But I am going to give you a spoiler here: God wins!!! Jesus the King is victorious!
    The world will not always be this way-- Heartache and riots and evil and destruction and predator and prey are not forever. God wins, so that means that all of us who believe in His Son, and the sacrifice He paid for us, win too!
     Know what you believe and get to know the One in whom you believe. Don’t put too much stock in your feelings; either the scary ones or the mountain-top happy ones. Satan is the master manipulator of feelings. If your feelings line up with God’s word, Woo Hoo! Rejoice and stand. But in the fear, we must stand and praise too, because that is faith. That is saying, “I don’t care what the situation looks like Jesus, I trust you! You will take care of it.” And then, oh then….Watch Him work!

Tonya Willman ©2010


Monday, October 25, 2010

Falling Up

My youngest son says that if he stares up into the sky for too long, he feels like he is ‘falling up into the sky.’ It bothers him. Maybe it is an inner-ear thing.
But I envy him. I wish I could fall up into the sky. I wish I could drift away into the clouds. And even if I only felt like I was going to, that would be okay. I could use my imagination. I could pretend that I could keep going. I would keep going straight up to God. It would be like the Rapture and it would be wonderful.
I hate the feeling that I am going to fall….down…. Oddly, I hate heights. It has come on me the older I have gotten. Like looking down off of bridges and cliffs; it sends a literal physical pain up my back. I avoid it at all costs.
But if I was lying in the grass and looking up, I wouldn’t be afraid, because why would I need to? It’s not like I am going to plummet off the back yard to my death.
Oh I do envy him. What must that feel like? He doesn’t like it. So it obviously does not feel good to him. But would I like it? If I could use it, control it? And oh, if I really could!!!
 I know this writing has a vaguely suicidal mist hanging over it, and I don’t mean for it to, not one bit. I am happy to be alive. I have no desire to cross the River Styx at this point.
I am only saying; if I could fall up into the sky, I would. I would want to keep going too. I know all of you people with scientific minds out there are thinking: What about the Troposphere, Ionosphere, Thermosphere and the Exosphere?  What if icicles form on your nose, or you grow a third arm from the radiation or you burn up in re-entry?
I have thought carefully about my reply, and here it is: “Shut up!!!” Do I stick my icy nose into your fantasies? No! Of course you have not, as of yet, shared any of them with me, but feel free to e-mail me anytime!
I guess I just like the imagery of the phrase; Falling up into the sky. It is majestic! Where would it stop being blue? I am sure scientists know, but that is not the point. I want to know for myself. I want to drift through a cloud. I know it is just thick mist, just gobs of fog….but I still want to poke my head in there.
I guess the most important thing is; I would want to keep on going till I got to Heaven. Somehow I don’t think Heaven is 100% straight up, I have this gut feeling that when you get to a certain point you’re going to want to take a sharp right.
My mother-in-law died this past February. She picked a sunny day and was gardening out in our back yard. She literally just stepped out of this world into the next. She was so wonderful and funny and beautiful and every other lovely adjective you can think of. But most importantly she knew Jesus as her Savior.
So did she do that? Did she fall up into the sky? Did she have a chance to experience that part, or did she just literally find herself standing in a different garden? She still had her garden gloves filled with weeds, I think she must have just looked around and said; “well I won’t need those anymore!” And then she beheld that beautiful face, the most wondrous face in all of eternity. That just makes falling up into the sky seem like a walk around the block. So, it’s okay I’ll wait. Someday I will behold such a place, such a face that no fantasy could ever compare. Falling up into the sky……..wow. Tonya Willman ©2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lovely Words

***Parsimonious, which means frugal, sounds like persimmons to me. I don’t like either one. I mean being frugal is fine, and I suppose persimmons have their place in the world, but both words make my mouth want to pucker.
A crazy cat lady, with dozens and dozens of cats, used to have a persimmon tree in her yard. The fruit always looked rotten and highly suspicious to me. I found out I was not the only one. When a woman brought some persimmon cookies to church, a friend of mine took a bite of one and asked where the persimmons came from. “Myrtles!” was the reply. She spit it into a napkin and ran for the restroom.
The house stank like cat pee clear out from the sidewalk. I always think of cat pee when I see persimmons now. Parsimonious also sounds like a cousin to ‘sanctimonious’ to have both of these traits would be like having a cat-pee-persimmon-tree in your yard…Not good! People would avoid you and find reasons to spit anything you offered into their napkins.

  ***Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound it represents. For instance, the word Hiss sounds exactly like the sound that it makes. Also, ZIP, when you ‘zip up’ you really hear ”Ziiiiiiiiiiip!” I never knew about this word when I was in school! I must have been absent the day they taught it!
When I was teaching independent study for my son we discovered it. Isn’t it delicious? Besides what it actually is, it makes me think of an ancient city. Like archaeologists would dig it up thousands of years later out of the sands. I think of the word Utopia when I say Onomatopoeia. But I also think it would be excavated like Pompeii.
It would have met its end; intact and taken out in one fell swoop by something they didn’t believe could really happen. If the end came from a CRASH or a BOOM or a Deluge…The echoes of doom for this amazing city would have sounded exactly like their names. They would have reverberated down through time until someone heard them, until someone unearthed this wild yet harmonious civilization. I would love to walk those ruins.

  ***Nostalgia is a yearning for the past. It is looking back to what we think of as “the good old days” because we forget all of the bad parts of the good old days. Nostalgia ought to be an onomatopoeic word, because it sounds like a disease.
“Doctor, what is it? What did my test show?” “Well, since you have been listless and sad and a bit depressed, we tested you for Nostalgia….Your results have come back positive Mrs. Weemer. I’m afraid it is the worst case I have seen since 1942. Ahh 1942, now that was a great year!”
I first heard this word bandied about in the 1970’s (a decade I am definitely not nostalgic about!) when the Waltons came on television. It debuted in 1972 when I was twelve. The Waltons really just made me sad. John-Boy always writing melancholy drivel in his room about Jim Bob’s accident, or Mary Ellen’s coming of age, or Elizabeth’s doll that went a-missin’. Plus Grandpa & Grandma Walton were just worrisome.
Whose house was it really? Momma & Daddy ran the place like they paid hard cash, but Grandma and Grandpa seemed like they’d been there before the dirt formed. Also, the kids never wore shoes. Come on people! I know it was about the depression, but if they could come up with foot wear for the adults, I just question their priorities. It seems more than a little suspicious to me. I suspect someone secretly drank. Probably Grandma….Just saying.

  ***Genre meaning; a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style. I really didn’t learn this word until I was grown either. I began working at the Public Library as an assistant. The word began popping up.
Oh I ignored it at first. I do that with new words sometimes. Or at least I did when I was young. Now I am almost OCD about it. I just have to know. But then, I was ….busy. But when I did get around to exploring its meanings I was intrigued. At first I thought; do you pronounce it ‘Jen-ree’ or huh? But When I worked out the pronunciation, I fell in love! It is pronounced softly like velvet and is from Middle French, (first used in 1770, Just FYI.) Of course it is French. How could it be anything else? Zhän-rə…..soft and enticing.
What is your favorite genre of books or music or art? Oh sure, you could say; type, sort or category…but how dull is that? Where is the heart-pounding excitement and exploration in such common words? Oh, merci beaucoup France! Thank you for this rich and silken definition for what each person loves best.

These are just the tip of the iceberg (sorry, now all I see is Titanic…) of all of the words that enchant, or annoy or puzzle me. I love words like I love bright shiny objects. I love names too. Sometimes I dream them. I collect them. Seriously, I have a list I keep on my computer. It is an excellent collection and I don’t even have to dust it, or pack it away at Christmas for the junk I hall out of the attic. Words; lovely, prosaic, eclectic and sometimes exotic. The endless possibilities of them….Excellent!

Tonya Willman ©2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

True Power

                   "In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid,” Psalm 56:11
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (June 19, 1834 – January 31, 1892):
   A false faith can only float in smooth water-but true faith, like a life boat, is at home during storms. If our religion does not hold us up in times of trial, what is the use of it? If we cannot believe God when our circumstances appear to be against us, we do not believe Him at all.”
     I love Charles Spurgeon. He was such an amazing preacher. And oh, how he loved God! He knew grace and he knew hardship, but most of all he knew his Savior, Jesus Christ. He was so filled with complete and absolute trust in the love and goodness of God. And, He worshipped. Oh, how he worshipped. He loved to worship his Lord, nothing gave him more joy. The more he hurt, the more he worshipped. It lifted the blackness, it defeated the enemy, and it showed the faith of a giant.
     When I hurt, when the enemy comes in like a black crow’s wing, swooping over my soul and blocking out the light I can become so discouraged. But Jesus assured us that we gain the victory through trust and praise. The harder it is to see through the darkness the more we absolutely must praise, even if it feels like sitting in the shadows and waiting for the light. Because it will come, in fact it has never left. Because Jesus is the light, and He promised He will never leave us or forsake us.
      Satan is good at two things first; hiding the light so that we cannot see it through our discouragement. And the second; coming as a false angel of light himself, causing us to believe half-truths and falsehoods. These lead us farther and farther away from the one true and loving God.  We begin to make up our own version of God as we would like to see Him. A kind of religious buffet, where we pick and choose what suits us best at the moment. This is idolatry to the very core because we are “creating” our own God.
     How many times have we heard people say, “Well, my God wouldn’t do this or that.”? There must a plumb-line, a true standard by which to judge everything. For me that is the Bible. What do you choose?  Who do you say that Jesus is? You can say anything you want. Millions do. But He said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. And no one comes to the Father except by Me.” John 14:6
     So He is either telling the absolute truth or He is a liar. Lots of religions love to say He was just a good teacher, a good man. But that is useless, and in fact contradicts what God’s word says. We cannot sit on the fence. We must decide. Who is He? This is THE most important question in the whole universe. Every soul will be asked this question; “Who do you say that I am?”  And every soul must answer.
     So, as for me, I answered that question in my soul a long time ago. The amazing thing is that even the faith to believe in Him is not from ourselves! He supplies all we need when we ask. So I challenge you; ask Him who He is. Ask Jesus to prove himself to you. See for yourself. Peek into the pages of the Bible with an open heart. He will not let you down, and soon you will know what Charles Spurgeon knew, and what millions of people know who are believers; He really is the Way the Truth and the Life! What an amazing thing to spend time in praise of! What an amazing thing to believe! And what amazing things happen once you do.  Tonya Willman ©2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go Giants!

     I wish I loved sports like some other women do. I would love to get so excited that I feared I would wet myself over a touch down or a home run. I would love to feel faint about a stolen base or swoon over a field goal. Genetically it has been bred from my body. I went to all my daughter’s sporting events. She played everything except football and soccer. Genetically, her dad gave her a love for and a gift in, this area that she carries to this day.
     When she was playing baseball I made sure that I never yelled the wrong thing, such as; “Way to punt, instead of way to bunt!!!” I felt safest yelling everything the other mom’s yelled. One thing they always yelled in baseball was “Good Eye!--Good Eye!”, as though one were enough, but what did I know? So I would yell that for everything! If she was headed to the snack bar afterwards you could hear me shouting this odd encouragement as she ordered her hot dog.
     Oh, I know what you are thinking. I was a terrible athlete in school. I was the last picked for any team. When I had to play baseball, they would put me out in deep-roving right field. Oh Yeah? Well, it just so happens you may be correct. All right you actually are! I also think that dodge ball was invented by sadistic coaches that were themselves, bullies as children. Do you think for one minute that the athletically challenged are not the first to be hunted in this game? Most of them find it easier to just curl up like a boiled shrimp and get it over with. Though I am not suggesting for one moment that I ever did that….
    Anyway, Where was I??? Oh yes; the love of sports, as a spectator. To me it is like the love of dumping out a jar of marbles on the floor and watching them scatter, except with cheerleaders, and high-fives, and athletic adjustments, and coaches racing back and forth like mad men, screaming unintelligible insults, or possibly encouragements to their own team. I do not know.
     And do not get me started on golf! Why do the announcers whisper? Are they just that bored too? Why do the people get so excited over this itty-bitty ball? They urge it, yell at it, encourage it and practically tear out there hair when it misbehaves. How come they don’t get that upset with the golfers themselves? All though I do approve of the little golf carts, sweet!
      I would love to see them used in, say, baseball or football. That would be great. However then I believe you are getting into bumper car territory, which I performed poorly in as well. I always got myself wedged into a corner as others bumped and sideswiped me. Not unlike dodge ball now that I think of it.
      I understand they have live alligators down in the water hazards in Florida. Now that is interesting! I mean it’s a whole new ball game! If they could promise anacondas in the sand traps, and bobcats in the rough, then I would get out the popcorn!
   Everyone I know right now is in a fevered pitch over the Giants. I want to be, I really do. My best friend and her daughter are watching the games as though world peace depended on them. Maybe it does somehow, and nobody has told me….
     My own sister loves football, not just loves, she adores it. She makes all the foods for the Super Bowl. She and her hubby and anyone else there scream and yell and sometimes even pace, in between enjoying the vast quantities of food. I am always invited. I would actually go for the food, but I just can’t handle the rest. When somebody yells; “DID YOU SEE THAT? DID YOU SEE THAT? DID YOU (BAD WORD) SEE WHAT HE JUST DID???” I have nothing to answer this with….Nope, nothing.
     Oh, I could stomp around clutching my head but I wouldn’t mean it. No, it would be a hollow sham. And I would be found out, oh yes, they always find out. Then they would laugh until they drooled and the beer shot out of their noses, and I’d suddenly flash back to Phys. Ed. Waiting to be picked for a team. And once again racing back and forth like a penny arcade shooting target to keep from getting pummeled with big red-rubber balls.
    I watched my grandson being born and I saw my children graduate, I went to Foreigner and Eric Clapton Concerts. As a Christian, I went to a Joyce Meyer conference. Oh sure, we all got excited. We did hoot and holler on all the above mentioned occasions. But that fevered pitch that people get themselves worked up into so that they can perform the ‘wave’ in perfect coordination with absolutely no practice only comes from the fanaticism of the sports fan…..Go Giants!!!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Random Brain Droppings or Creatively Unusual Advice.

*If you think that it cannot be done, good call! It can’t, especially if you want to, say, climb the Eiffel Tower. They have terribly strict rules. The Gendarmes will be all over you like a Christmas ham. Also if you think you cannot go over Niagara Falls in a barrel you are correct again. If you feel sure that breaching the walls of Brad Pitt’s home and claiming to be Angelina Jolie won’t work, once more you are spot on. However; if you believe any of this is remotely do-able, you are a fool. But go ahead and try. It will make great headlines; which will take the World’s attention (at least momentarily) off of the constant dreariness of Paris, or Lindsey, or Lady Ga Ga, or Justin the Beibler Elf, or Dancing with the Washed-Up-Has-Been-Last-Chance-for-15-More-Minutes-Of-Fame-Stars.It will be a blessed relief for the rest of us. Do try.
 *If it runs away from you do not chase it. It doesn’t like you, and who wants something like that around anyway? Unless, of course, it is a toddler, and then we suppose you must….
*If it has been opened for more than a few days and smells strange…it is. It will do peculiar and unusual things to your digestive tract that will be like teeny-tiny Hiroshima bombs going off at random intervals in your bowels. The pain will not be a happy memory and the sweet and sour (if in fact that is what it was) is just not worth it. Toss it out immediately.
* If you cannot locate your car keys, someone has hidden them from you. It is not your fault, even if you live alone. There are full-time Key Sprites that do nothing but misplace keys all day. They are not allowed to actually steal them. If they do they will be banished to where all of the single socks go that the dryer eats. Simply ask yourself; if I was a Key Sprite where would I hide them???? The logic of it will set in and it will be as simple as a walk in the park. You can gaily check all of the oddest places; in the freezer, under the dog’s water dish or in the hamper… These are Just a few of the childish places they put them. Be adventurous, you will find them every time!
* If you are driving on the freeway and pass a full cattle truck do you look away so that you don’t have to see them? Do you pretend that they are being shipped to lovely pastures and being used only as dairy divas? We do. Then do you go have a hamburger for lunch? We do. We think it is really sick. Yet we do love a good burger or steak. Why can’t tofu or mushrooms really taste that good? Oh sure they say they do; “Just try THIS recipe” they say….And by “they” we mean sickly, skinny, vegan fibbers! The sad fact is; cows are delicious! Oh the irony.
*If you think it is wrong to have acne and wrinkles at the same time we suggest you write your congressperson immediately and demand action. We do not see why they cannot appropriate the much needed funds, when they can get them as easily as falling down the stairs, for, say, pork belly futures.
*If you MUST go back and look inside the blue U.S. mail box on the corner just to make sure that your letter really slipped all the way down; then you will most likely also feel the need to sniff your outlets when you smell unexplained smoke, even if it’s clearly coming from outside. Even if it’s midnight and you just got up to pee. You will start out sleepy, but by the time you have sniffed and sniffed you will be wide awake and your knees will be covered with dust bunnies from the search. But you cannot help it and that is okay. So since you are wide awake, feel free to surf the cable channels and find all of the crazed infomercials to enjoy. But, have your credit card handy, because you know you will order something. And just think; all you were going to do was pee……
*If you use your answering machine to screen calls, but then your child, unbeknownst to you, picks up the extension and brings it to you just as you hiss “SHH! Everybody let the machine pick up!” then congratulations! You are experiencing a 9.5 on the ‘Awkward Scale’! A 10 would actually be breaking wind in a store aisle when you thought no one was around, but alas you look up to see your Pastor, and his wife coming around the corner. And they will have to know it is you because you took great pains to make sure you were alone on said aisle before you let go. We are sorry but we have no helpful advice for either situation. But please write and let us know what happened because we are very interested.
*If you are in the Super Market in your holey sweat pants with flat hair and no makeup and a fresh zit on your chin, and you spot an old school mate (whom you avoided even back then) who looks like someone actually stood there, as you watched, and air-brushed 10 years off of her even as she entered the produce section…run like the wind. Even if it means darting into the butcher’s meat cutting room. Yes, even if it means having to belly crawl through the pig lips and fat trimmings….Above all, never let her see you! If they throw you out just as she is passing by then we can only offer you two words: Move away…yes it is that dire. Your best friends may try to joke you out of it. Do not let them. Your best bet is to call the government and inquire about the witness relocation program. It is either that; or banging your head repeatedly against your refrigerator so hard that you lose your memory completely…We never said we were here to make you feel better.
* If you are a woman out in public, say at the mall, just walking along minding your own business, possibly enjoying all of the 'mohawks' and ‘muffins’ and suddenly the worst disaster you can think of happens: Yes! That’s right, the tragic flipping of the panty-liner! The unspoken bane of a woman’s life! The unmentionable, yet agonizing thing we do not discuss. Then…what to do? Leaping straight into the air and yelping may be your first inclination. But it will only draw attention to the painful mincing steps you must take as you try to make it to the ladies room, which will always be clear across the mall. And possibly even on a different level. We would like to take a poll and find out why women freely discuss, in front of men; the 27 hours of labor, the dilation, crowning and afterbirth, but will not even mention the panty-liner flip. Do not be ashamed ladies. Our advice is to just reach down and fix it right there on the spot! Major league baseball players do this all the time! Seriously. They do it even if they don’t really need to. Adjusting themselves appears to be just a part of the game; like spitting and ‘high-fiving’. Although based on where those hands have been, I myself would refrain from the High-five ritual. Anyways ladies a new day has dawned. There is no shame. So be free. Just do not offer us a hearty handshake as a thank you.
*If you find yourself reading unusual columns which offer you startling and frankly juvenile advice, or in some cases no help at all, you should rejoice. It is refreshing and, really, aren’t you tired of the same old dull, tired points of view from the so called “Women’s magazines”? Don’t these magazines just make you want to hurl them about wildly in the checkout line? They either have lame article titles such as ‘12 ways to rework your leftover kielbasa’ and ‘Easy-breezy meals on just 1.00 a day, or how to reconstitute 2 year old fruitcake bricks.’ These pitiful periodicals are always next to the ones that embarrass you just for even glancing at them. They always have heaving women dressed in styles that would make Doctor Ruth blush, with articles like (and we just saw this) ‘Six easy ways to get his pants off’. Ladies, this is no difficult trick-- Not to worry, you are wasting hard earned cash there! One quick, whispered suggestion and you could probably get him to do that very thing right in the middle of the Wal-Mart. No ladies stick with the unusual. Stick with the blog that makes you say; “Why! This is so ludicrous…it just might work!!!”
                                                  Tonya L. Willman ©2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Canyon at Night

     Tonight it’s very quiet. Everyone is in bed. My husband is snoring softly beside me. A train is passing; its wheels clacking and rumbling. The tracks are very close to us in this wisp of a railroad town. Most of the time in the day I don’t even hear the trains or their whistles, they barely register in my brain, unless I fear being stuck by one. Such are the consequences of living on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’.
     At night they can sometimes be irritating. But tonight they are soft, a little more distant. May be it depends on which way the wind blows…Even the screech of brake-locked metal on metal as the train slows into the station, isn’t too bad tonight. It’s funny that sometimes it comforts me and I didn’t even realize it until just now.
     The mountains in which we live should actually be peaceful and perfectly quiet at night, except for crickets, frogs and maybe owls. I rarely hear owls, although they often leave large messages that they’ve been here deposited on top of my car, perched as they were, in the oak trees above it.
     But my town is in this little crack of a canyon. Wedged twisted and woven between a long three-cord ribbon of river, free-way and railroad track. So always, even when you pay it no mind, there is the ever present sound of this blended white noise. The freeway offers whispered rhythmic sounds, rising and falling, as the cars pass like ocean tide. Sometimes at night I pretend it is the ocean-- vast and dark and flat. The occasional semi-truck horn blast is really the sound of a boat announcing its return to safe harbor. Or maybe a low melancholy fog warning. We don’t get fog here…
     The trains and cars and distant river sounds create a kind of song that I have listened to every night for years. The river, the trains and the traffic all flows along here. The River only down, as the others strain along in both directions.
    Our bedroom ceiling fan whirls along with the symphony too. It doesn’t matter what time of year, even later we just get out the down comforters and enjoy the added tempo of the rain, or the quiet stillness that is snow falling. The snow actually feels like a blanket settling. You can wake from a dead sleep and know it has snowed by the very feel of it. All of this turning and flowing and whispering and clanking, who knew I was addicted?
    I hear no crickets tonight, just train whistles being tapped out in secret- code, they do that, the engineers. My dad used to have a code for my mom that she could recognize and know he was headed in to the train yard.
    But there are also the maniac trainmen that rocket in at 2 and 3 a.m. with horns blazing like guns in a shoot-out! Sadistic men who don’t bother with the polite middle-of-the-night toot, or quick little private messages. These people clearly relish waking up as many sleeping souls as possible. I have counted over fifteen or more, long, loud, consecutive horn blasts at a time. It is more obnoxious than cats mating, or drunks conversing in the hallways. Who knows, maybe it’s always the same guy who does it? I always vow, in a slumber- wrapped rage, to complain in the morning. But I never do.  Maybe everyone else does the same thing; I always forget to ask about that too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Here’s to the capricious dreams in your head,
to all of the monsters from under your bed.
Here’s to the angels that soar ‘round your ceiling,
and watch over the night no matter the feeling.
Where is that dream place you desire to find?
Ever and always out of reach in your mind.
The phantoms and hallways and pathways and doors,
lead you from forests, to attics, to the squeaking of floors.
Here’s to the dreams that begin so vivid, so real,
and within moments become private theater surreal.
A playground for visions and shadows and receding twilight,
twisting movements and sounds that cavort in the night.
Here’s to landscapes and seascapes, known and unknown,
to parlors and papers and dream winds full-blown.
Here’s to the diaphanous moment when your eyes start to close,
you run from the thorns, but you long for the rose.
Here’s to the uncharted depths of your mind and your soul,
and the clowns and the bards  that seek to console.
Who is the person you become when you sleep?
Does it scare or enlighten, or cause you to weep?
So happy with golden-light shining around you as day,
here for a moment; then flows quickly  away.
Yes, here’s to your dreams, with puzzling roads and tenuous things,
and here’s to the grace that God’s daylight brings.
                       Tonya L. Willman

What Dreams May Come

     I don’t enjoy my dreams. I never have. In fact I can only remember three, maybe four really good dreams I have ever had in my life. It is so weird, and yet just a part of my life that I accept. I know people that talk about beautiful dreams they have, and often. I actually know people who can direct their dreams, choose what they want to dream about, and stay in their dreams to completion until they wake up! They can dream a real story from beginning to end, and if by chance, the dream begins to go wrong they can tell themselves it’s just a dream and they need to wake up, and they do!
     My dreams are just a hodge-podge. Disjointed and chaotic, they go from one thing to the next. They flit around like schizophrenic, indecisively crazed birds. The irrational seemingly perfectly rational. Many, many times they are about me just trying to get from point A to point B. The frustration becomes overwhelming at times. Sometimes I am actually headed down the road in a car, lost, but trying to figure out some landmark that I can recognize. Suddenly the car I am driving gets absurdly smaller and smaller until it is no bigger than a child’s pedal car. I am riding so close to the road that I can see the actual pebbles and pavement cracks as close as the lines in the palm of my own hand. I am always trying to figure something out, always trying to work out the details. And I get so close. Always working feverishly, but I never reach my destination. Not always, but quite often I am completely alone.
    Sometimes the dreams are so lonely with pieces of streets and neighborhoods from my childhood. In these it is always night, but I can feel and see colors. There is unspoken danger and there is fear, but I don’t know why. I do know if I can just get a few streets over I will be in the right place and it will all be okay. But I never can. Something or someone always gets in my way, and then I have to figure out how to get around that obstacle. Once I have figured that one out another one immediately pops up. It is always like I am a hamster on a wheel, never getting where I need to be.
    And they flicker incessantly from one thing to the next like images on a screen. If I could just settle into one scenario from beginning to end that would be blessed relief, but they always change to some other weirdly distorted scenario half way through, as though a demented screenplay writer lives in my subconscious flinging out random, yet frustratingly unfinished story-lines, one after another.
     This morning as I was swimming up towards consciousness I was actually talking to myself about it all, and yet still dreaming too. Either God or my brain told me that I live within the minutia in my dreams, because I live within the minutia of my life. I micro-manage and hold on so tightly in the day that it follows me into the night. Is it true? Was it a message from God? Am I really wound that tight? And if I am, how sad is that?     Is it like this for others? I mean, I know dreams are not like they show them in the movies and on T.V. but do most people look forward to their dreams like a good book? What would that be like? I know that it is possible, because I have talked to people who feel that way. If it is really true how do they not become dream addicts? I would. If I could control my dreams like that, it would be like a holodeck for me. I would forever be trying to get to sleep by dusk….Maybe that is why I am not allowed to have it.
     But, would it be so outrageous to be able to have a really good dream once in a while? Every now and then I actually dream I am in an old Victorian type farm house. It is wonderful, and somehow I have come to own it. I begin exploring and it is amazing with deliciously awesome things everywhere I look. The very kinds of things I love in the real world. But when I get up to the attic there are always bad things, very bad things…the attic is fine to a certain point, but then it becomes so huge and I can feel the vastness of it, and feel what is way off in the dark. It always ruins it. Every time! Other times when I do get to experience joy or beauty it quickly morphs into such a strangeness, and sometimes even down right absurdity!
    I once heard that dreams are your brain’s way of dumping the garbage from your mind at the end of each day, like emptying the recycle bin on your computer. And, that if you didn’t dream you could get sick, maybe mentally ill. Because dreams are the valve release on your subconscious; like the valve on a pressure cooker. Dreams are your brain’s way of venting. If that is true, I sure dump a lot of weird stuff out of my head every night. I wonder where it goes. Is it floating around out there in the ether? If that’s true I just hope no one stumbles upon it by mistake.
     But if the message I got from my brain, or God or however it came, is true, if I let go more in the day time and ease up on the needle-tight need to fix and control, will my dreams change? If I live freer and gentler with myself and others in reality, will my dreams become more beautiful at night? It is an interesting thought and certainly worth exploring. I do try to go more gently each day. I feel deeply that God is changing and molding me every day into a calmer more peaceful human being. And I do not believe I am in denial.  I even pray about my dreams before I sleep. Yet my mind seems busier at night than it is in the day, does that happen for others too?
      But I won’t give up. There must be some great dream moments to come, beautiful dreams that actually have beginnings, middles and ends. Dreams that I wish I could never wake up from. That could happen. And maybe I hold the key. Maybe the more I let go of in the day, the more wholeness and splendor I will gain in whatever dreams may come in the night. But if it doesn’t happen, I will accept it and continue to daydream my beautiful dreams that come to me while the sun is upon me and my mind is clear and open to the beauty of the day around me; and of living and breathing and creating art, and of course, soaking up the gorgeousness of God.  

Tonya Willman ©2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Undies In A Bunch

Dear Hanes “Her Way” People:
     I am taking the time to write this quick little note due to the fact that I am extremely annoyed with all of you, right down to your delivery men! I recently purchased a package of women’s ‘briefs’ which we all know is code for “Granny Panties”. But this is not why I am writing you. Sure, I am annoyed about this too, but neither my age nor my size is in any way your fault. So not to worry; I will not be contacting my lawyer based on any of the afore mentioned reasons, as there is sadly little you can do about any of it.
     No, what I am more than a wee-bit irked about is that many of the seams on the undies in this six-pack o’panties have begun to unravel faster than your Aunt Mildred’s sweater after a moth invasion of biblical proportions. I know the label says that these undergarments are made in Thailand. Frankly I suspect that they are actually manufactured somewhere deep in the Canadian wilderness, because it appears that you have hired beavers, and then randomly threaded their teeth and set them to work on all of the seams in hopes of somehow saving even more money than you could have with the average third-world worker, while simultaneously attempting to create a tidy looking “double-stitch”.
     Here’s why I suspect this; it is true that I am “short” for my weight. But to put it bluntly; I have an extremely flat back of my front. An affliction I have had since birth. Yes, I’ll just say it; I am heiny-impaired. I don’t know why Jerry Lewis or someone has never created a telethon for this disorder but they should have! (I’m sorry, I digress) but the point is that I do not have enough “junk in the trunk” to split a seam if it were sewn by a ‘special education’ Home-Economics class. Though it pains me to have to discuss my anatomy (or lack-there-of) with you, I am sure you can see why it was necessary.
      I believe you may be thinking; who cares!!! She bought them at Wal-Mart. It’s not like she expects Victoria’s Secret quality (snort, snicker). She is probably used to most of the items she purchases there falling apart faster than a hasty Vegas marriage.
      Perhaps you have even sent all of your “seconds” out to all of the Wal-Marts, while rolling around on your thick, plush pile carpeting in your Park Avenue offices and laughing until your personal-assistants have to bring you silk handkerchiefs with which to mop your eyes.
    But guess what Hanes ‘Her Way’ People; it does matter! I may be short on funds, and I may need to shop in a store that is known worldwide for the highest number of people with the lowest number of teeth per-capita, and I may have the flattest butt ever to parade around in your product, but I deserve some good strong seams! I deserve to be able to wash my underwear more than once without them looking as though they have been trampled in a stampede.
    In conclusion, I urge you to fire the beavers immediately and apologize profusely to your ex-workers in Thailand. Even better, bring your panties on home! See if you can’t wring some quality out of the lowliest of American workers….who knows they may surprise you, regardless of the number of teeth per-capita!

Tonya Willman ©2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What's in a name?

     Let’s talk about the Name of Jesus. Its power and importance cannot be overestimated. No other name can elicit such strong emotion as the name of Jesus. You can mention Buddha or Allah, Confucius or any of the thousands of Hindu deities and you may get a level of reaction, but nobody’s temperature will start to rise. However; go someplace crowded and speak out the name of Jesus in a simple, reverent way and watch what happens. Some will smile and nod. They love His name and are not afraid to show it.
     Often there are some who will be uneasy. Because they don’t know much about Him, but what they do know strikes a chord within their spirit. They know that any serious conversation about Him would require some kind of thought, or possible decision on their part.
    There will also be those who look at you with disdain and offense because you have just committed a type of politically incorrect social blunder. How rude of you to share the name of Jesus in such a unmistakably marked day and age of separation of church and state. Their faces clearly say, ‘save it for Sunday’. Some of the self-enamored intelligentsia may even stare at you with a mixture of amused pity and scorn.
   One of the most interesting responses is a kind of atheistic hostility, which is actually an oxymoron; because how can you be upset about something you continually claim not to believe in? I’m just saying, think about it; I don’t believe in the Sasquatch and I rarely get upset about it. Their reaction can often be completely out of proportion to such a gentle name. No one was ever gentler or more loving than Jesus. But no matter what, His name never fails to get a response.
     A required response is in every single one of us that belong to the Human Race. There is a place within each of our souls that His Holy Spirit has set aside to deal with the ultimate issue of Christ, our creator and redeemer. Each person feels it within themselves, down to the very bone and sinew.  They may not be able to name what it is, but they know it just the same. It is a revelation each person faces in their own way and ‘political correctness’ is often just another word for the rejection of those feelings.
    I believe that in certain circles in America it would be less rude, in a social gathering, to spit on the floor or break wind than to speak the name of Jesus, unless you would be casually using it as a curse.
     Of course, we are all too aware of the dangers of speaking His name in certain parts of the world; it is nothing less than a death sentence. Does no one find it strange that it is this name…Jesus? But even behold the responses of the unreached pagan natives when God sends missionaries into their lands and villages to proclaim the name of Jesus. Many listen in awe and wonder, knowing that this is indeed the name that goes with the longing in their hearts. This unidentified God that they have called out to and tried to please as best they knew how finally has a name. Jesus. And since there is no political correctness in the jungle, others will just attack, behead or possibly eat the proclaimers of that powerful name!
     But sadder yet, in these last days, the name of Jesus seems to be what’s missing from the gospel itself. We give such a watered down version of a ‘social gospel ‘because we want people to feel oh so comfortable, and so as not to offend, we only speak of “God” or “the Lord”. How did we Christians become conditioned to be afraid to speak the name of Jesus to strangers in the grocery store, our friends, neighbors or families? The enemy is so sly and subtle.
    The real gospel of Jesus; that is the good news of why He came is this: the Bible says that people sin. Sin is unacceptable to God. He is holy and cannot allow anything in Heaven for all of eternity that is not holy also. Sin must be punished. There must be justice, because He is a just God. There is a real hell of fire and torment which was actually designed for Satan and his demons at the end of days. It is NOT God’s will that any human being should go there (John 3:16) but it is also where those who reject His remedy for the fall of sin will go as well. It is not His choice it is ours. Jesus paid that penalty for us. He was and is sinless, He is the only one, God’s Son, fully God and Fully man, who could be that sacrifice for us. To reject or accept Him is ours alone to choose. This is also an extremely unpopular and politically incorrect thing to speak of. No one wants the doctor to tell them that they have a terminal illness, it is equally unpopular. But, if it is true then it is true. Oh, you can choose to ignore it. You can choose to ignore the remedy too. If you don’t want to take it you certainly don’t have to, but you still will die. It’s the same thing with Jesus. Folks, like it or not, you will be making the choice either way.  
     The devil knows the true power of the name of Jesus when spoken by a true child of God, and he cringes because it sends demons reeling. When spoken in heartfelt prayers of faith, it saves souls, delivers from bondage, heals sickness, restores relationships and sets the captive free.
    It is every Christian’s rightful heritage to use the name of Jesus with joy and authority. And it is every Christian’s shame if we ever mistake fear or cowardice for kindness or diplomacy. We must always remember that we are never excused from proclaiming His name. But we must also never forget the true joy that comes with really doing what we were meant to do; speaking the amazing name of Jesus.

Tonya Willman ©2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

That 'One Day'

    Today it’s actually blustery with the sun peeking out as it chooses. Blustery feels weird after being drenched in sun and warm temperatures. Oh, I've come to that ‘one day’. I do this every fall. It takes that one day that feels a certain way to convince me that summer is over. All summer and fall I do my best to soak up all the sunshine that I can. I don’t mean on my body, I am actually quite pasty. But I always try this “direct-to-brain-mega download” Of the sun and the bright colors of the flowers and the smell of summer breezes. I try so hard every year to save it up like pennies in a bank. I tell myself, if I can just remember the way the sunlight looks filtering through the wisteria, if I could just really feel it, then I could chase away the icy, gray malaise that steels over me in the bare winter months.
     Today is lovely. It is the kind of fall day that apologizes profusely about the bare bones of the winter that is fast approaching. The wind chimes are gentle but insistent. I love that. They, also tell me that this luminously light wind is today’s gift. But I cannot help it; I want to collect it in lots of jars with bits of bright petals and leaves of scarlet and gold. Then I could put it up on a shelf the way that people do who can peaches and tomatoes and green beans. I want to be able to stare at the jars in the winter and watch as the sunny breezes swirl around inside the them making the colors dance and glow. It would be better than any movie and even most books. I could watch it for hours.
      Why in the world do people like snow globes? If I could, I would invent a summer globe (batteries included) where sunlight and gentle breezes ruffle the leaves of tiny little trees, and wee little flowers glow in the sun and sway in the breezes when you turn it upside down. Not quite the same as saving the bright days of summer and fall in jars, but maybe a tiny bit more practical.
   So I am in the moment of my ‘one day’. I am in the process of acceptance.  It is amazing how stubborn my soul is about it. The trees keep rustling and whispering to me, inviting me out to try and reason with me. They want me to come out so they can tell me it’s okay. They know they will be back in all of their glory in the spring. They tell me ‘we are letting go’ as their leaves begin to float and swirl. We are tired; winter is a good time for us. We have all of that sunshine stored up inside of us, even if you don’t. They are so much more patient than I am. I wish I were that wise. But you know, I also still wish I had my rows and rows of jars.

Tonya Willman ©2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stuck In The Middle With You

     So a duck a rabbi and a proctologist walk into a bar……now see, don’t you wish you knew how this turned out? Or even the middle part. So do I. But you know, that is not the point. The point is that the beginning intrigues you so that you desire to know the end. But the meat of the thing is the middle. Some things in life have a definite beginning, life, foot races, lunch and labor pains. And some things have definite endings; books, movies, death and south-ends of north-bound dogs.
   But the middle oh, there is the unknown. The middle can be picked up anywhere. The middle is where you are now, unless of course, you are really close to the end and don’t know it. The middle gives you breathing room. It is the friend that invites you to lunch unexpectedly, and then pays for it! It is the book you picked up at the library just because--- but it turns out to be the best thing you have ever read. The middle is where you say “I am so tired of the same old recipes, and then give yourself a chance to discover new ones, not caring who else may or may not like them.
   The middle is like realizing you’ve been holding your breath for a long, long time and you finally find yourself slowly releasing it and then doing a few more deep breaths for good measure. Your soul can relax in the middle. It is not trying to figure it all out or racing to the finish line. The middle sends you on unexpected walks down tree lined streets. The middle gives you time to stand in the road in awe at the dust motes dancing in the rays of light coming through the trees. And it is the time when you are really learning not to care if anyone may be wondering just what you’re doing standing out there. The middle gives you the courage to even invite them to enjoy it with you. Complete strangers! You could just say to them, ‘how lovely is that!” And even if they begin to slowly edge away, pffft, who cares? That’s just fine.
     No one ever knows where the middle begins to become the end. So many, many people saying; how? When? And, It was only yesterday…..’Do you remember? It was the year the baby had the bad croup.’ That same baby is now seeing his proctologist every year and faking his way through his eye exams.
     This is the middle, people. It is all we’ve got. The middle is this very moment, where I am typing and you may be reading or dreaming or doing your toenails. But it is now. I have to constantly remind myself not to miss it, any of it. Not a moment.
     I spent so many years thinking I just wanted to be 18, and then oh I can’t wait until they are potty trained! Finally ahh, see I have them raised. Yes I do, and now what? Now? Now is the middle! The ridiculous thing is I could have seen it as the middle so many years ago. And it could have been such a big middle too, a grand, wide-open giant of a middle. But I was just way too busy trying to work through the beginning as fast as I could.
     What a shame to believe life is a race. What most people believe is the preparation for the journey…is the journey. Every moment could be a very important middle point to stop and absorb. Mostly we are oblivious, we rarely absorb. How many moments have I missed? Probably thousands and thousands. But no matter because this is the middle, as far as I know. As far as my finite mind can see, I am in the middle of my life and in the middle of the moment.
     So what about the end? What if it is closer than we think? This is the important thing. We must not see the middle as lasting forever. The middle is the perfect time to figure out what God has to say about the end. Because the end is really just the beginning all over again in that ‘undiscovered, never-ending, country”.

Tonya Willman ©2010